Arkemheen polder is one of the oldest polders in the country.
To drain the peatland they dug irrigation ditches, hoping to be able to create arable land. Later generations saw their crop fields flooded and realized that draining peatland leads to soil subsidence. In the 17th century, polder windmills were put in place for more effective drainage. In 1883, a steam-driven pumping station took over from the windmills.
It operated daily for a hundred years until it was replaced by an electric installation. Nowadays when water levels get dangerously high, the old steam-driven pumping station still lends a hand – full steam ahead! In addition, there are practice runs about ten days a year. The pumping station can be visited from Tuesday to Saturday. Steam enthusiasts should check the website for ‘Steam Days’ to find out when Hertog Reijnout will be under steam. It is the only steam-powered pumping station, still in working order, to have two outer water wheels.